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© Kay Panten
Institute of

SF Sea Fisheries


Enhancing Prediction of Tropical Atlantic Climate and its impacts (PREFACE)

Losers of climate change
© Thünen-Institut/Heino Fock
Artisanal fisheries in West-Africa will be severely affected by climate change. The most common type of fishing boat used is the pirogue, often used in seine fisheries for small pelagics.

Enhancing Prediction of Tropical Atlantic Climate and its impacts (PREFACE)

Climate predictions in the tropical-subtropical Atlantic bear a high degree of uncertainty and even bias. Biological long-term data sets are used to support model evaluation and in turn, improved climate predictions are applied to improve forecasts for biological distribution and stock abundance models.

Background and Objective

The Tropical Atlantic is a region of key uncertainty in the earth-climate system: state-of-the-art climate models exhibit large systematic error; large uncertainties exist in the relative roles of internal and external factors, such as aerosol forcing, in shaping climate change; and it is largely unknown how marine ecosystems respond to climate variability and how climate change will impact them. As a consequence, model-based prediction of Tropical Atlantic climate and its global socio-economic impacts are highly uncertain on all timescales. The magnitude of the problem and the need to resolve it is internationally recognised. PREFACE takes on the challenge to redress this situation through the first comprehensive assessment of the Tropical Atlantic. Compiled European and African expertise will combine regional and global scale modelling capabilities, field experiments and observation systems to address the following objectives:

  • To reduce uncertainties in our knowledge of the functioning of Tropical Atlantic climate, particularly of climate-related ocean processes (including stratification) and dynamics, coupled ocean, atmosphere, and land interactions; and internal and externally forced climate variability.
  • To better understand the impact of model systematic error and its reduction on seasonal-to-decadal climate predictions and on climate change projections.
  • To improve the simulation and prediction of Tropical Atlantic climate on seasonal, and longer time scales, and contribute to better quantification of climate change impacts in the region.
  • To improve understanding of the cumulative effects of the multiple stressors of climate variability, greenhouse induced climate change (including warming and deoxygenation), and fisheries on marine eco-systems, functional diversity, and ecosystem services (e.g., fisheries) in the Tropical Atlantic.
  • To assess the socio-economic vulnerabilities and evaluate the resilience of the welfare of West African fishing communities to climate-driven ecosystem shifts and global markets.

Target Group

science, politics

Links and Downloads

Involved external Thünen-Partners


11.2013 - 10.2017

More Information

Project status: finished


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    Fock HO, Czudaj S (2019) Size structure changes of mesopelagic fishes and community biomass size spectra along a transect from the equator to the Bay of Biscay collected in 1966-1979 and 2014-2015. ICES J Mar Sci 76(3):755-770, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsy068

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